The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering are back with another mind-blowing robot. This one doesn’t have a specific name, but Samuel Felton, grad student working on the project, simply describes it as a, “Self-Folding, printed inchworm.” It’s literally a printable robot that uses shape memory polymers to fold itself using small electrical currents, and then can inch along just like it’s worm counterpart.
One of the most promising aspects of this robot is its ease to manufacture. Since it’s printed, producing swarms of these robots wouldn’t be as costly as most technology. It also has an ingenious mechanism behind its automated folding. The shape memory polymers expand and shrink with the heat of electricity, and this size change causes folding around printed hinges. This simple solution means even more complex shapes are possible.
Unfortunately, it’s still in the early stages of development. Right now it can fold itself but not install its own motor or battery. The task of installation, fortunately, is simple and easy to replicate with other robots.
Along with those swarms of quadrocopters, expect ground swarms of robotic slithering worms.